For years, Breaking Bad was one of the most popular crime drama shows on television. It focused on Walter White, a family man and school teacher who went down a dark path of crime to help his family. There are some great comic books out there that have similar storylines and characters for fans of Breaking Bad.
These stories are great crime dramas that go to very dark places and feature everything from supernatural events to criminals on the run, from the police to people forced to do bad things to survive. These include comics from award-winning creators that tell stories that match up to anything a person will see on television.
Preacher was created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon in 1995, and the series ran for 75 issues. The story saw a small-town Texas preacher named Jesse Custer who was preaching when a supernatural creature named Genesis crashed into the church, killing everyone there, and shooting into Jesse’s body.
This gave him the Voice of God, where he could make anyone do anything he wanted. When he learned God abandoned Heaven, he set out to find him and make him explain why. Meanwhile, a group wanted to find Jesse and make him their symbol as they try to take over the world.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips created Criminal in 2006 and has five volumes and has 38 issues. They are still making the comics, with the last comics released in 2019. Each story arc is self-contained with different characters in the same world. The comics are based in a noir world, with heist stories and a criminal underworld explored throughout the series from the con-men and thieves’ point of view.
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky created Sex Criminals in 2013, and it ran for 31 issues, ending in 2020. The series is an Eisner Award-winning series that tells the story of two people, a librarian named Suzie and an actor named Jon, who have a special ability.
When the two sleep together, time freezes when they reach the end, allowing them to use these skills to rob a bank to save Suzie’s library.
100 Bullets is an interesting comic book series with a large overlying storyline that allowed for several story-of-the-month tales inside the world.
Created by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso in 1999, the series lasted 100 issues. The story saw a mysterious man with a briefcase with a gun and 100 untraceable bullets. He offers people a chance to get revenge against people who wrong them without a chance for criminal prosecution. However, as the comics progressed, it turned out that these people played a role in a larger game at play.
Frank Miller created Sin City in 1991, and the series ran until 2000 and featured seven books in the series. This series occurs in Sin City, where there is no law and the criminals rule the world.
However, there are also heroes here; although they fight an uphill battle and usually have to resort to doing bad things to stop a greater evil. With iconic characters like Marv, Dwight McCarthy, and Nancy Callahan, there are many great stories in Sin City.
A lesser-known Vertigo series from Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera is Scalped, which ran from 2007-2012. Aaron, who worked in Marvel and recently was a co-creator of Thor, worked on this series about the residents of a Native-American Reservation in modern-day South Dakota as they deal with organized crime.
On top of the criminal activities is a story of local politics, poverty, and the fight to maintain a cultural identity. There were 60 issues in the series.
A History of Violence
In 1997, John Wagner and Vince Locke created the graphic novel A History of Violence for Paradox Press. The book, which David Cronenberg made into a movie in 2005 starring Viggo Mortensen, tells the story of a man who learns he can’t escape his past.
Tom McKenna is a local man who saves a story from a robbery attempt, but when his face ends up on the news, it turns out he had a run-in with mobsters earlier in his life, and now they are back for revenge.
Road To Perdition
In 1998, Max Allen Collins and Richard Piers Rayner created the graphic novel Road to Perdition, which was turned into a movie in 2002 with Tom Hanks in the starring role.
The book had Michael Sullivan as an enforcer for local mob boss John Rooney. While he was like a son to Rooney, his real son Connor killed Michael’s family except for his son, and Michael goes on the run while Rooney orders a hit on Michael to stop him before he can hurt his business and family.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips created the crime series Sleeper in 2003. There were 12 issues in the main series, and a second arrived a year later with 12 more issues. Wildstorm published this series, and it served in the Universe of that comic book line and was part of the Coup d’etat crossover event.
The main character was Holden Carver, a covert op agent who went undercover in the evil organization ran by TAO.
In 2008, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips created a six-issue limited series for Icon Comics, an imprint for Marvel. There was also a second miniseries released in 2010.
Incognito was set in a world where there have been superheroes and villains for over two centuries. The main character here is a former villain named Zack Overkill, who lives in witness protection. The comic follows his life as he prepares to testify against Black Death, as assassins seek him out to kill him.